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Draft Countdown: Top 10 Outside Linebackers

Here is a breakdown of the Top 10 outside linebackers available in the 2009 NFL Draft ...

1. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest

Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 25440-Yard: 4.53 Year: 5-Sr.

Scouting Report: Curry has been a productive player at Wake Forest, and he presented himself as one of the top defensive players in the nation last season. He possesses the speed, athleticism and strength to immediately break into a starting lineup on the NFL level and offers All-Pro-type of ability. Curry is a three-down linebacker who creates opportunities for the defense, and he can be used in a variety of roles for a defensive coordinator.

Grade: First Round

2. Brian Cushing, USC

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 243 40-Yard: 4.69 Year: Sr.

Scouting Report: Cushing shows flashes of dominance, and he is a defender who forces the action up the field. He's best suited to line up at outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, but in time, he could develop into a potential strong side at linebacker for a conventional alignment. Cushing's potential to be used in a three-point stance as a pass rusher in third-down situations is only added value.

Grade: First or Second Round

3. Clay Matthews, USC

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 240 40-Yard: 4.59 Year:5-Sr.

Scouting Report: Matthews comes off a tremendous senior campaign, and he elevated every aspect of his game. He was not rated by NFL scouting services coming into his senior season, but he is now poised to potentially break into the late part of round one. The versatility to be used at a number of linebacker spots as a three-down defender will help Matthews quickly see playing time as a rookie in the NFL.

Grade: First Round

4. Larry English, Northern Illinois

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 255 40-Yard: 4.88 Year: 5-Sr.

Scouting Report:English is a terrific athlete and a defender who forces the action up the field or catches ballhandlers in pursuit. He plays significantly faster than his 40 time, and he had opposing offensive coordinators game planning around him in college. English offers a good degree of upside potential, and he should be productive on the NFL level once he gets accustomed to the competition.

Grade: First Round


Wake Forest's Aaron Curry

5. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 256 40-Yard: 4.52 Year: Sr.

Scouting Report: Barwin is a solid athlete who never took hold at the tight end position, yet he made a major impact when switched to the defense this year. He offers terrific upside as either a down lineman in a conventional system or standing up over tackle as a rush linebacker. Barwin has always been a terrific special teams player, which should help him see the field as a rookie in the NFL. He's a rising defensive prospect with a good amount of upside.

Grade: Second Round

6. Clint Sintim, Virginia

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 256 40-Yard: 4.75 Year:5-Sr.

Scouting Report: Sintim has been a very productive linebacker at Virginia, and he offers starting ability as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He is also a prospect who could line up in a three-point stance on pass rushing downs. Sintim offers a good amount of upside, and he should be productive on the NFL level once he complete his game.

Grade: Second or Third Round

7. Kaluka Maiava, USC

Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 229 40-Yard: 4.75 Year:Sr.

Scouting Report: Maiava did an outstanding job as a senior after finally breaking into the starting lineup on a full-time basis. He is one of the Trojans' most complete linebackers, and he projects at the next level as a three-down defender. Maiava's size is a limiting factor. That may dictate the types of systems he'll be successful in, yet he possesses the abilities to eventually develop into a starting weakside linebacker.

Grade:Third Round

8. Marcus Freeman, Ohio State

Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 240 40-Yard: 4.68 Year: 5-Sr.

Scouting Report: Freeman was a highly-considered prospect coming into his senior season, and a linebacker with first-round potential. His ankle injury last season significantly slowed him down, and he moves toward April with a sagging draft grade. Freeman is an athletic prospect with a good degree of upside and a player likely to be underdrafted, yet he is someone who could be very productive at the next level once he gets back up to speed.

Grade: Third Round

9. Cody Brown, Connecticut

Ht: 6-2 Wt:24240-Yard: 4.73 Year: Sr.

Scouting Report: Brown has been a playmaker for the Huskies defense since his sophomore season and constantly disrupts the action in the opponent's backfield. He displays the skills necessary to be switched to outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, yet he must show he is as efficient making plays in reverse as he is moving up the field.

Grade:Third Round

10. Jason Williams, Western Illinois

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 235 40-Yard: 4.57 Year: 5-Sr.

Scouting Report: Williams was used in a system that primarily asked him to play in the box or move up the field. He possesses the basic athleticism to be used as a weakside linebacker in the NFL, yet he must show the ability to make plays in reverse. He is a solid developmental prospect who could flourish early in his career on special teams.

Grade: Third or Fourth Round

Profiles provided by Tony Pauline, NFL Draft analyst for and owner of

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